Two Yukon skaters produced their best performances at the biggest competition so far this season over the weekend.
Arctic Edge skaters Rachel Pettitt and Mikayla Kramer posted personal best scores to finish in the top four at the B.C./Yukon Section Championships in Coquitlam, B.C.
By finishing in the top four, both have earned spots at the Skate Canada Challenge competition – the final stepping-stone en route to the national championships – early December in Edmonton.
“I’m really excited. I feel very ready to go to another one,” said Pettitt. “I’ve been training hard for this leading up to sections and I have three more weeks of training before we leave.
“I’m really excited and I just need to focus on myself during that week and not worry about other skaters, just worry about what I’m there to do and have fun.
“I feel a little bit of pressure, winning novice last year, but it’s good pressure.”
“I’m just really excited to be going,” said Kramer. “I never thought this would be possible. It was my biggest goal of the season.”
For the second year in a row Pettitt punched her ticket for Challenge with a silver-medal performance, in junior women at the championship.
The 16-year-old placed third in the short program before taking second in the free with a personal best score of 90.57. She finished with a combined score of 139.15 – another personal best.
“I feel really good about how everything went,” said Pettitt. “I didn’t have my best short but everything went well and I got a very good score for how I skated and it put me in a really good position for my long program. My long wasn’t the best, but I performed everything to the best of my abilities.”
With her second-place finish, Pettitt placed third in B.C. Skating’s season-long Pond to Podium Super Series. She also nabbed the artistic award for her category.
Pettitt, who trains at the Kelowna Skating Club in B.C., became the first Yukoner to win gold at the National Skating Championships last January.
She capped her final season in novice ladies by winning gold at the Canada Winter Games in February – another first for Yukon.
Next month’s Challenge will be Kramer’s first. The 13-year-old took the final spot by placing fourth out of 40 skaters in pre-novice women.
“I was very happy. I had a personal best by like 15 points. I was just very happy and shocked a little bit,” said Kramer. “I had two clean programs; I landed everything in my programs.”
Kramer, who also took the artistic award for her category, notched personal bests all around. She placed fourth in the short at 32.12, tied for third in the free at 59.3, for a combined PB of 91.49.
“I landed my four double axels – there’s two in my short and two in my long. That would be the hardest jump I’m working on and I landed all of them. I was really happy and excited about that,” said Kramer.
“I really improved my linking footwork, which is everything between my jumps and my spins. I went out and skated from my heart.”
Kramer also skated for Yukon at the 2015 Canada Games, placing 12th in pre-novice ladies.
Though only two competed in Coquitlam, three Yukon skaters will compete at Skate Canada Challenge.
Whitehorse’s Bryn Hoffman, who trains in Calgary, will also lace up for the event Dec. 3-7.
While she will compete in junior singles and in pairs, the latter has been her main focus the last couple of seasons.
She and Albertan skating partner Bryce Chudak have placed fourth in two International Skating Union events so far this season. They took fourth in an ISU Junior Grand Prix in Colorado Springs, Colo, and then fourth in Grand Prix in Torun, Poland, both in September.
They placed seventh at the 2015 National Skating Championships in January.
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